On Monday morning, March 30th 2009, the BBN awoke to face another day of wondering what we were going to do. Our Kentucky Wildcats had lost during the NIT just five days earlier to Notre Dame. First, the mere fact of playing in the NIT was not acceptable to most. Two days after that, we were informed that now we were without a head coach. We had already heard rumors of unhappy players thinking about the possibilities of a transfer. Needless to say the Big Blue faithful were no where close to being atop a cloud. Flooding thoughts of this nightmare could not be pushed aside no matter how hard we tried.
In years past when a season ended way too soon, we started the process of moving on. We always fought it for a while, discussing the reasons we felt it ceased too early, how we could have done it better, and sometimes pointing out which parts were good. Fairly soon we would sway our attention to October and begin to hope for a deeper run next time. March of '09 was different though. We had found ourselves in a bit of a pinch, again. Above all else, we knew we had to get our beloved ship up-righted and on course or we could not begin to turn our focused hope. We did not have a skipper, though.
How would we do this and where would we start? I am sure we all wondered this. The thoughts of most of us were to turn to our fellow fans and think this through. Obviously, we could not think of any better place than the blue confines we call A Sea of Blue. The place we knew we could discuss possibilities, find real facts, up-to-date information, and seek comfort from others who understood exactly how we felt. With our crystal balls in hand, we flocked in numbers to help and be helped. We could not have imagined the journey we were about to experience. Well, I am positive we never thought about watching a door for hours, that turned into days.
When readers checked in that morning, Tru (as he was known then) had a post up talking about the qualities he felt the next coach should possess. It was then early morning of day three of our coach search. Kentucky fans in the Memphis area were filling us in on what they were hearing about Cal to UK from reporters by mid-morning, though nothing was concrete. We discussed who we wanted as coach, who we didn't (RMK), shook our shiny future gazers for a clearer view, wore out our remotes switching to every sports channel we could find for information, and probably came really close to causing Google to crash during those three days trying to seek more information. We laughed a lot with each other and found some much needed comfort among other fans.
By mid-afternoon, the thread had bogged to a crawl and Tru opened another thread. This is where we found out about a MyFoxMemphis live door feed from Memphis. A door that was so unbelievably dormant just standing there, but for whatever reason we saw life in that door. We continued to discuss our course, our hopes, and we laughed a lot more. And we began to watch this door like something was going to walk through and chase our nightmares away for good. This went on for the better part of two days. If you find this crazy, I did too. Regardless, I watched it a lot!
Some were skeptical about what dreams might lay beyond the door. Many were excited though a bit apprehensive because of rumors we had heard, while some were filled with instant exhilaration. We discussed the what-ifs and what-nots about this coach that many in sports media did not trust. We listened to all the fears and concerns and read every link to make sure we came to a true informed decision. We heard news that Coach Cal was no where around the door, but still we watched that lifeless door, the gate, and Les, for thread after thread after thread after thread after thread after thread. The last one was appropriately subtitled "Dear God Let it End." and we learned a presser was scheduled for the next day to announce our Coach.
One thing that seemed to be nearly unanimous nearly three years ago was that Cal would probably understand us. We felt he could accept what it took to be the head coach for the University of Kentucky. We sensed he would 'get it'. But I am not sure many of us had any idea how well and how quickly he would take the helm of our ship and chart it back to the top of the mountain. A few of the great memories include being the first to 2,000 wins, an Elite Eight appearance followed by a Final Four appearance, and we are holding the top spot for home winning streaks. I honestly feel that Cal knows a #1 ranking is a good place to be, but he doesn't consider it as a pinnacle. The peak we search for cannot be reached until the first weekend in April. Cal really wants to get there, for sure.
Call it totally insane if you want, but those three or four days were sort of a healing time for many of us. Days filled with the full spectrum of emotions but they lead us to know we could count on the fact that the blue in the rafters of Rupp Arena would continue to grow. Three days to surge past the seventh stage of grief is almost a miracle, don't you think?
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.